Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our Reason for Being Here - Rounding Out Transfer Week with Baptisms

Christ is the reason and our purpose is to invite all to come unto Him and repent by receiving baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As transfer week ended with the returning missionaries leaving on Friday, on Saturday (after watching James' basketball game) and Sunday we travelled to Kawachinagano and Wakayama respectively to see some wonderful people come unto Christ through baptism. Above is a picture of the attendees for the baptism of Sister Morimoto and her son Keigo. He is 16 years old and a wonderful young man. The baptism was held in Wakayama church, but they are members of the Iwade Branch. Iwade does not have a font so everyone travelled to Wakayama for the service. This was Elders Mauai and Wintz's first baptisms and the first baptisms in the Iwade Branch in four years. Needless to say the members were excited. Nothing excites the members more than to have new members join them. Nothing breeds missionary spirit better than the fruits of missionary work. We heard many testimonies today from people remembering their own baptisms of many years ago as they expressed their gratitude for the missionaries that found and taught them.
Above are the Elders with the Morimoto's and us. Elder Baldridge who returns home next transfer found Sister Morimoto in the Area Book and contacted her earlier this year. She had been found several years ago and lost contact with the previous missionaries and had had no contact for about three years. Elder Baldridge started teaching her and was transferred a couple of months ago. He was able to come back and attend the baptism with us.
We also attended a baptism in Kawachinagano for Sister Kamimura.
Above- Elders Jorgensen and Andreasen with their newly baptized member, Sister Kamimura. She was found and taught because a member (Sister Soga) started a conversation with her at a bus stop. If we can just get the members to work with us by simply opening their mouths and letting people know they are members of the church, we will see many more baptisms like Sister Kamimura.
Sister Kamimura is sitting between Sister McIntyre and Sister Soga. This was the first baptism for these two elders as well. Oh how we want all the missionaries to have this choice experience. This will not be accomplished without the help of the members. We have 100 missionaries and 22 million people in our mission. We have been called to preside over the mission and missionaries, but more and more I am feeling we need to and can have a great impact and influence on the members here. We speak every week somewhere and have many opportunities to teach and inspire the members and local leaders. It is a great blessing and help to have Rika speak with the members with me as a Japanese member and leader. She can testify as a Japanese member that what we share is not something from America, but something the Japanese can do as well. More and more members are catching the vision and trying to do more to share the gospel. Our belief is that there will be a great change in the hearts of the members here in Japan and that change will bring about a great miracle among the people of this country. Our mission is in part to help that change occur.
We are also just mom and dad to a couple of young men here though. We have to balance our time accordingly! Ricky was away at an overnight basketball retreat on Awaji Island, but Saturday James had a game at the Canadian Academy.
James is #8. They won this week. He is the point guard.
As usual, next week is already planned out and will be another busy one!

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